I have a weak link in my diet – and it’s this! I can’t resist the urge to snack after my evening meal…
I’m pretty good throughout the day, but after about 8pm at night I’m terrible for eating ice cream, cookies and candy. I’m normally really tired after a busy day and feel the need to treat myself for being good on the diet front – but then I of course blow all the progress I’ve made.
My friend Carrie says I shouldn’t eat or drink after 8 o’clock at night as the sugar is stored in your body and just becomes pure fat? Is that true? And what are your thoughts on nighttime eating? Is there anything I can eat late at night that isn’t going to derail my diet?
Becky I feel your pain!
Late night snacking is a huge culprit in derailing people’s weight loss goals – including my own! But let’s be honest shall we? You’re not snacking because of hunger, but because you just want something sweet, a reward as you say, and it becomes a ritual. I’m not so worried that you’re snacking, but what you’re snacking on. I don’t agree with a lot of people who say don’t eat after a certain time, I believe it’s okay to eat any time of day, including at night as long as you don’t take in too many calories and a lot of sugar – as it seems you do. In my opinion it’s all about matching the demands of the body with the food we eat.
Your friends’ simplistic view of food just turning to pure fat is untrue. On paper a lot of theories sound great, but in reality they don’t pan out. For instance, theoretically if you ate 3,500 calories less once a week (the amount found in one pound of fat) you’d lose a pound. And if you overate by that amount you’d gain the same way. But we all know your body does not act as simple as a math equation. So don’t be so concerned with snacking and it ruining your healthy diet throughout the day
Here’s what I would try, eat less. I know I’m a genius right? While I wouldn’t encourage anyone to eat ice cream and candy at night, I’m also not telling you to cut it out all together as that will drive you insane. Instead, why not look for some healthier options in the frozen section. They have reduced fat, no fat, soy products, and various other frozen treats that may satisfy your urges. I like to eat diet Jell-O from time to time with frozen strawberries and a bit of Cool Whip. Or I may make a slice of Ezekiel toast and use some light cream cheese, strawberry jam and natural peanut butter. And of course I almost always have my famous stone ground tortilla chips dipped in peanut butter as well.
The key with snacking is to control it, and to also add it into your daily calorie totals. If you are trying to eat 1500 calories per day, leave 300 off for the late night snack. At least that way you won’t be overeating even if the timing isn’t great. Do you see my point?
Finally, Let me play therapist for a moment and just give you some insight from my own experience. Eating is as psychological and social as it is necessity. In my case, in times of stress, anxiousness, sadness, etc, I definitely coped through the use of food and made very poor food choices. You may be coping with some issues and self-medicating with food at night as you unwind from the day. It’s very common and I know a lot of people who succumb to it. I’m just saying that if you have a ritual at night of eating certain foods, and it’s not due to hunger – then something else is driving the compulsion.
So in a nutshell, take a look at how you eat and ask why? And then I’d slowly reduce the amounts and change to some healthier, less caloric options. It’s okay to snack, and I believe it helps the metabolism to run strong over night, just be a bit more conscious of what it is you’re eating. You didn’t mention if your snacking was causing weight gain, or if you just couldn’t lose any pounds. But regardless, eating ice cream and candy regularly isn’t healthy no matter what your weight is, so either way I’d like to see you make a change.
What do you think? Do you snack at night? Has it affected your weight? And what do you eat late at night? Start commenting everyone!